Air hose reel used as garden hose reel???

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Montalvo, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. Montalvo

    Montalvo Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Location:
    California
    OK, this isn't necessarily a "plumbing" question but those of you who deal with water pressure and flow rates can probably tell me if this'll work.

    I'd like to have a heavy-duty, self-roll-up hose reel by the garage to wash my car. I found an AIR hose reel on sale at Harbor Freight and the ad said it could be used for air OR water. But I'm concerned about whether I'm going to have enough pressure and/or flow since the hose diameter is only 3/8". I use a Mr. Clean AutoDry CarWash device on the end of the hose which dispenses soap and DI water.

    Before I convert this reel for garden hose use (cutting off the 3/8" hose ends to attach garden hose fittings), I'd like to have some idea how it's going to perform. I've got 50 psi at the hose bib and the reel has a 50' hose. When I compute the difference in cross-section area between a 5/8" garden hose and the 3/8" air hose, the air hose is about one-seventh the area of the garden hose! That's gotta reduce the flow rate...but by how much???

    Thanks for any advice you can offer.

    Bob
     
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2004
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    You've pretty well analyzed the problem, you will drastically cut the flow. The real question is, how much flow do you really need with that car wash device? I would guess it doesn't require very much and there will be enough flow to do the job for you, but that is just a guess. Is there any indication on the package for the washing device to indicate how much flow you will need? When I wash my vehicles, I use a wash mitt and rinse regular hose that has a spray nozzle. The nozzle doesn't put out anywhere near the capacity of the 3/4" hose. Point being, you don't need a huge volume of water to wash/rinse a car.
     
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  4. Montalvo

    Montalvo Member

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    Feb 10, 2005
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    California
    Thanks, Gary...

    Based on your response, I sent an e-mail to Proctor and Gamble and posed the question to them on what kind of pressure/flow would be required to ensure that their carwash system would perform correctly. I'll let you know their response.

    Bob
     
  5. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Dec 15, 2007
    Occupation:
    Service Plumber
    Location:
    Connecticut
    You will probably find many of the components will not do well exposed to water. Many of the components along the water path will probably be zinc plated steel. Water against zinc plated steel = rust!
     
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    reel

    You have two problems. The first is the small hose that is going to severely limit your flow and thus the pressure at the wash unit. The second is that the hose is going to be coiled which will decrease the pressure to an additional degree.
     
  7. Montalvo

    Montalvo Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Location:
    California
    Good points...

    Redwood, HF's ad said that the hose reel could be used for either air or water so I'm assuming that it's reasonably rust-proof (although nothing on the box says it's made for use with water). The box does say it has a "full-flow solid brass swivel joint". And I think there's often a condensation issue with compressed air that would mandate rust-proof fittings in such devices.

    hj, I hadn't thought about the impact of a coiled hose restricting pressure or water flow. One more potential reason to feel that it may not work.

    Hope to hear from the carwash device maker this next week.

    Bob
     
  8. Montalvo

    Montalvo Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Location:
    California
    It works...

    OK, I never did hear from the maker of my car wash device so, after buying the hose reel, I decided to hook it up and try it. I could easily disconnect it and return it if it didn't work. Well, it works! There is clearly less water volume than when a 5/8" hose is connected directly to the hose bib. But there is enough pressure/volume to satisfactorily operate the soap dispenser and the DI water filter. And the pressure is sufficiently strong to wash the soap off the car. Incidentally, I did my test with the hose still coiled around the reel, something that hj said would reduce the pressure/flow even more. If most of the hose will be unwound during car washing, that will only make it work even better.

    Thanks for those who offered opinions on this.

    Bob
     
  9. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2004
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Thanks for the follow up on this. As you point out, you don't need mega volume or pressure to wash a car. I may set up a couple of these for myself. I need a hose around my hot tub to rinse the cover and surrounding deck and I can see where it might be very useful for the area where I wash my cars.:)
     
  10. Howard Emerson

    Howard Emerson I teach guitar:You call that a job?

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Occupation:
    I teach guitar:You call that a job?
    Location:
    Huntington Station, NY
    A real hose reel for water!

    Hi Bob,
    I had intended to post about this when you started the thread, but alas........

    Here's what you would 'reely' ideally buy:
    http://www.rapidreeldirect.com/?gclid=CLKZlITUsJMCFRUWsgod8UyRog

    I have 3 of them, and they're easily detached for winter storage. They are extremely high quality as in 'You get what you pay for'!

    Best,
    Howard
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2008
  11. Montalvo

    Montalvo Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Location:
    California
    More info...

    Howard, thanks for the link and I'd agree that those hose reels look "reely" sturdy (a horrible pun but I forgive you). However, from my review of the specs, it doesn't appear that your hose reels are self-retracting (i.e., spring-loaded re-wind) like those at gas stations and like the one that I bought. They do, in fact, permit 150' of 5/8" or even 3/4" hose compared to 50' of 3/8" hose but the hose is not included on yours and is on mine. And lastly, the price for one comparable to my air hose reel is $99 vs. $69 (on sale) for my air hose. And while Harbor Freight does offer some flimsier self-retracting air hoses, the one I bought certainly appears to be commercial quality.

    Gary, if you're serious about considering this option and would like me to spec out the difference in flow volume between the hose bib and the end of the air hose (without the car wash device), let me know and I'll measure how long it takes to fill a 5 gallon bucket for each.

    Bob
     
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